Roundtrip Carsharing in New York City: An Evaluation of a Pilot Program and System Impacts

April 15, 2021

Transportation Sustainability Research Center Co-Director Susan Shaheen, research engineers Elliot Martin and Adam Stocker and PhD student Aqshems Nichols recently completed an evaluation of a roundtrip carsharing pilot program in New York City. Their analysis is now available: Roundtrip Carsharing in New York City: An Evaluation of a Pilot Program and System Impacts.

Abstract: The study found that roundtrip carsharing in NYC mostly serves as a substitute for car rental, other personal vehicle modes, and personal vehicle ownership. The analysis showed that the broader pilot program had a modest impact on user behavior through carsharing (i.e., reduced vehicle ownership, reduced VMT, and mode shift). It also found that the pilot program likely expanded the membership base of carsharing to demographic cohorts that are traditionally underrepresented in carsharing populations (i.e., increased participation by lower education levels, lower household incomes, minority demographics). The study also examined vehicle ownership impacts and changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Analysis of survey and activity data indicated that 7% of NYC carsharing members avoided a car purchase, and 0.61% of members got rid of a car they already owned due to carsharing. Across the membership base, VMT was reduced by 7% and GHG emissions were reduced by 6%. These findings showed that carsharing reduced VMT and delivered associated environmental benefits within NYC, and more broadly had a substantive impact on travel behavior among members in form of mode shift away from personal automotive modes.